- Holidays and Celebrations
True Scary Ghost Stories: Do You Believe in Ghosts?
True scary ghost stories that might give you (Halloween) goosebumps!
Do you believe in the afterlife? Throughout the centuries people have told each other true scary ghost stories. A lot of them were made up, but some really happened! Or at least people thought they were true. Not every spooky experience is for real of course. In a lot of cases there is a logical explanation! However, that is not always the case. Some ghost stories are still an unsolved mystery.
Are those mysterious ghost stories really true? Millions of people believe in the existence of ghosts! Those spooky creatures show up in every religion worldwide. You don't even have to believe in an after life, to have real life experience with the spirits of the deceased! History shows those encounters can happen to anyone, everywhere and age doesn't matter at all! It might even happen to you while you're reading... Sounds spooky enough?
In my country, the Netherlands, we have hundreds of haunted places and legends about lost souls that are still around. I've always been interested in the life after death, because it's fascinating material. I studied a lot of really scary ghost stories. In the city where I live, The Hague, we have several of them. My city has a rich history. Many things happened here through the ages. I was thinking of the Halloween spirit before I started working on this article. All of the sudden my attention was drawn to some of those true scary ghost stories. Was it coincidence or were the spirits from the past yelling for my personal attention? Did they want to go public?
I decided to give them a voice. Listen and shiver... turn of the lights for some spooky experiences from a small country called Holland... Maybe it might even inspire you for some cool Halloween costumes and/or props!
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes, that's me!)
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes that's me!)
Do you believe in ghosts?
Ghost stories: Only for Halloween?
I wish that Halloween played a more important part in the Dutch culture. In the last 10 years or so shop owners sell some Halloween decorations, but that's it. There is no 'trick or treat' here yet. But I'm sure in the near future Halloween will be more important in my country. I'm already looking forward to it!
As a fan of (true) ghost stories I would decorate my house in a creepy ghost style! Of course ghost stories are not only for Halloween! You can read and/or tell about them the entire year. But Halloween sure is THE time of the year to greet those who have passed away. And then especially the real creepy and scary ones of course.
One thing all scary wandering spirits have in common is that their life ended in a cruel way. I'm not talking about the sweet ghosts people see of beloved ones. Like a grandmother that watches over her grandchildren... I mean those ghosts that are wandering around and scare the hell out of people. The ghosts of people who died all of the sudden. Most of the time that was in a traumatic way. It's the reason they are still around. Call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the hereafter... Is it because their souls haven't found peace because of unfinished business? Did they commit major mistakes and is this the reason they're still hunting around?
Halloween is the ultimate day to remember those haunted ghosts and of course gather candy... Decorating your house is a fun way to make it a very spooky event. I should be in the USA that day! I would have so much fun. There are so many great props, costumes, etc. Here is my top 3 of creepy props!
My number 1 pick: Talking about scary Lanterns, what about this one! Doesn't this skull look bloody sweet ;-) I would put it close to my front door as a creepy welcome to the Halloween guests. The ultimate Halloween hospitality don't you agree? I have a planter with almost the same skull head, so these two would be a great combination! You would feel so welcome ;-)
My number 2 pick: Witches are my favorites, I think they look like ghosts, don't you agree. This one is made of latex. I would place it in front of my window with a spooky lantern or so to grant this scary lady full attention!
Pick number 3: Ghosts and Halloween can't go without something that looks like a graveyard... Well these Tombstones would really lift my spirit in the garden in front of my house. They look so real! I think I'm going to order them!
Really scary ghost stories from The Hague the Netherlands - De Gevangenpoort: a creepy place to visit!
Have you ever heard of 'De Gevangenpoort' (see photo)? Translated in English it means 'The Prisoners Gate'. If you love real ghost stories stay tuned, because this place is full of it! De Gevangenpoort has a spooky rich history!
Nowadays it is a museum you can visit. On the photo you see the entrance. I looks real nice from the outside. But wait till you get in!
The people on the photo are waiting for a guided tour! The guided tours they organize are amazing! You get to meet an exciting part of the The Hague history. If you're ever around don't forget to visit 'De Gevangenpoort' please! If you dare of course after continuing reading my spooky stories... It might not sound scary now but wait till you're finished...
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel
Planning to go to The Hague?
If you are planning to go to The Hague this audio tour will be really helpful. Download as MP3 and enjoy your private tour!
Seeing ghosts, share your experiences!
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yep, that's me)
Have you ever seen a ghost?
Ghost footage in a hospital - Is this a real ghost?
If you answered 'no' in the above poll you get the opportunity to see one! This footage looks very real to me! Or is there another logical explanation? The video is taken by a hospital security camera! What do you think?
De Gevangenpoort: a haunted place?
History and horrible facts about prisoners locked up there
In the year 1280 AD 'De Gevangenpoort', located in the center of The Hague, was the main gate to the castle of the Counts. In 1428 AD the place became a prison where defaulters were being locked up. Suspects of various crimes were put in 'De Gevangenpoort' as well, awaiting their trial. After one more century new cell blocks were built, called 'gajolen' and the building got its own courthouse.
The 'gajolen' were not very comfortable cells. It was very dark and cold inside. Often more than one prisoner stayed in one of the gajolen. They were all waiting for their interrogation and/or trial. The only comfort prisoners got was some straw on the floor and a hole in the ground that was used as a toilet.
Prisoners were tortured in horrible ways during the interrogations. De Gevangenpoort had cruel executioners. The torture and punishments included whippings, burn marks, being pilloried, penalties, banishment, prison and the death penalty. The death penalty was cruel: people were hung on the gallows, burned at the stake, killed by drowning and beheaded with a sword.
Some rich prisoners had their own private luxury cell. You had to be really rich, a few days in a comfortable cell would cost about 35000 dollars. Not every prisoner was so lucky. Some famous Dutch patriots who stayed at De Gevangenpoort include: Cornelis de Witt, Dirk Volckertszoon Coornhert and Catharina le Chasseur. They stayed at 'De Gevangenpoort' in a luxury cell called the "Ridderkamer" (knights chamber) and were treated in a less cruel way (but still not very nice).
When I was taking photos for this article a very nice tourguide allowed me to take a few photos inside De Gevangenpoort. Normally this is not allowed. It was an honor. On the photo you see a glimpse from the building inside the big walls!
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel
Scary Halloween costumes for your party! - are you brave enough to wear these?
Halloween is only complete with costumes. If you're like me you want to buy them online or in a shop in your neighborhood rather than producing hand made costumes. I'm just not good at it! Recognize the feeling? Don't worry, there are plenty of great Halloween costumes available for you. I have listed a few favorites below!
Do you have a newborn baby? Dress your sweetie up like a real ghost, not so scary but definitely very cute!
Real scary ghost experiences in De Gevangenpoort - Haunted souls giving staff the creeps!
During the past and this century many people reported that they had seen ghosts in De Gevangenpoort! Over the years staff members and visitors saw a young boy running through the building. But it wasn't a living boy...
There are more true scary ghost stories. Locked doors are being opened during the night even when they are locked and pinned by the staff with tie rips! In the famous Ridderkamer (knights chamber) the bed that is still there looks like someone has slept on it every morning! Famous Dutch prisoners like Cornelis de Witt stayed in this room before they were executed!
Scary voices have been reported too by both staff members as by visitors. Out of one of the swords used by the executioners to behead convicted prisoners, came strange black dust, it wasn't physical dust, it was dust of a ghost... The same sword was different than the others and it gave the staff a hard time to get it from the wall. It is said that this is still the case...
Staff and visitors experience chills, strange sounds, a sudden temperature reduction, breathings and shadows of human beings are seen as well. There is still no explanation for it!
Photo Credits: Haages Tijden Picture of the Ridderkamer
The story of Catharina le Chasseur - An ordinary girl marrying a Dutch nobleman
One of my favorite true scary ghost stories is about Catharina le Chasseur(1490-1541). When I was writing this Lens it was like Catharina's spirit was whispering in my ears. Like she was watching over my shoulder. I felt her presence while I was on my way shooting photos in The Hague. It's hard to explain but it was a very special experience!
There is not much information about Catharinas childhood. As far as we know she was an ordinary woman living in OrlÃ©ans, France. Lots of wild stories have been told about this lady, but there is not much proof for them. What we do know about Catharina is that one day she met Gerrit van Assendelft in OrlÃ©ans. Gerrit van Assendelf was a Dutch nobleman (Lord of Assendelft and Lord of Assemburg). He studied in OrlÃ©ans where he met the young and probably beautiful Catharina.
An affair started between the two of them and they even got married in 1507 AD in OrlÃ©ans. It was unusual in those days that a nobleman married an ordinary girl! Strange fact is that after he finished his study, Gerrit van Assendelft returned to the Netherlands without taking his new wife with him. Catharina couldn't stand this and traveled after her husband. First Gerrit refused to let her live with him, but Catharina successfully went to court. The judge ordered Gerrit van Assendelft to take care after his wife.
She lived with her husband at the Westeinde 12 in The Hague where they even got a son together. Perhaps there was some real love between the two of them after all!
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes, that's me!)
Catharina le Chasseurs tragic death in De Gevangenpoort
In the year 1532 AD the marriage between Catharina le Chasseur and Gerrit van Assendelft ended. Most probably because van Assendelfts family didn't like the marriage and did everything they could to get rid of his wife. After several court cases Catharina agreed to getting 600 guilders a year plus her ex husband had to pay for their son. He could easily afford it as Gerrit van Assendelft had been promoted to the President of the Dutch Court.
Catharina le Chasseur moved to another house. She was used to living in luxury. Because she spent more money than she got she had to do something to maintain her living standard. Catharina secretly became a member of the Association of Counterfeiters. The forgery of money was a huge crime in Holland during those days. If you got caught you would most definitely get the death penalty! Catharina le Chasseur got caught and was taken to De Gevangenpoort pending her trial. She confessed to her crimes, was found guilty by the Dutch Court and sentenced to be burned at the stake in public.
The Regent of Holland, Queen Maria of Hungary, changed this in death by drowning. She also ordered that the execution of Catharina shouldn't be in public and that her body should be buried in hallowed ground afterwards. In the night of april 11 to april 12 1541 AD Catharina was taken to the execution room of De Gevangenpoort (see photo). The executioner strapped her to the torture bench, put a funnel in her mouth and kept on pouring water through it till she finanly died. A horrible dead!
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes, that's me!)
Catharina le Chasseurs wandering spirit - Her ghost is still around!
The night of the terrible execution of Catharina le Chasseur her body was buried. It is not 100% sure but the most likely place is the St. Jacobusparochie (the Saint Jacobus Parish) at the Parkstraat 35 in The Hague (See photo!).
There is no graveyard there anymore, but most probably her physical remains are still around somewhere near this Church. I will do more research and bring updates when I know more. It requires a little bit more research.
Not long after the death of Catharina le Chasseur her ghost showed up at the house where she lived for many years with Gerrit van Assendelft.
In the year 1653 AD there was a first official report. It was the sister of the famous Johan de Witt, Johanna de Witt, who mentioned the appearance of Catharinas ghost. She stayed at the Westeinde 12, because her brother bought the house and it was her job to clean up the place. She wrote a letter to Johan de Witt about strange phenomena that scared her and her staff:
"Our maid, Grietien, refuses to stay in the house when nobody else is there. She heard the house is haunted. Two of our other servants have already left us. They complained about a strange appearance that tried to pull the blankets of their bed in the middle of the night. I had the same experience too. When I turned on the lights there wasn't anyone there, but I heard the sound of the rustling of a dress, like someone tried to escape the room in a hurry".
After Johan de Witt read his sisters letter he decided to buy another house in The Hague and sold the building at the Westeinde. He and his sister weren't the only ones that spotted the restless ghost of Catharina le Chasseur! Many strange phenomena took place.
One day people found a big amount of coins in a puddle in one of the basements at the Westeinde. Strange fact is that there are no water pipes there! Had this something to do with the way Catharina was killed (after all she was drowned)? The true scary ghost stories continues...
A close examination concluded that those coins were part of the counterfeiting of Catharina le Chasseur and her gang!
Catharinas ghost in the current and last century
Catharina le Chasseurs wandering spirit is still around. In the 20th century the Westeinde 12 was the residence of an English diplomat. The man had several scary 'close encounters' with her ghost. The diplomat reported the presence of a 'Poltergeist'. During the night drawers were emptied on the floor, doors opened and closed and water came out of the taps!
The diplomats son saw Catharinas ghost! In the middle of the night he 'met' a woman with a covered face walking through the hall ways. He said 'Hello' but the woman didn't answer. The next day he asked his father who this mysterious guest was. His father answered that there were no guests! More people saw a woman with a covered face and a gray dress walking through the house and disappearing through the walls!
Many years later the new owner had strange experiences too. He and a couple of working men were busy renovating the building. The men helped the new owner to hang a massive mirror to the wall. They anchored the mirror with bolts. It took four strong men to hang this very heavy mirror! After finishing this job they left the building, doors were locked and the alarm was on.
The next morning the owner of the building was curious to see if the mirror was still hanging on the wall. To his great surprise the mirror was removed and standing in the corner on the floor at the other side of the place! The anchoring hadn't been touched and the mirror wasn't broken. There were no signs of burglary, the entire building was closed and the alarm hadn't gone off. It is a spooky mystery that has never been solved. I can't find any logical explanation for this!
At the place where Catharina le Chasseur enjoyed her meals there is a mysterious leakage. There are no water pipes or other explanations for this spooky dripping of water! Is this water related to the drowning of Catharina? Nobody knows! The former dining room has been examined, but till now investigators have no clue where the water comes from.
Catharina le Chasseurs ghost in De Gevangenpoort
The Westeinde 12 is not the only building where the ghost of Catharina has been spotted. Many witnesses claim they have seen her spooky appearance in De Gevangenpoort! The same woman other people claimed to have seen at the Westeinde is also seen at De Gevangenpoort many times by many different people! They all describe the same woman walking around and disappearing in the wall.
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel(yes, that's me!)
Worldwide true ghost stories - Plenty of evidence that ghosts exist
Many people all over the world have seen, heard and/or felt the presence of ghosts. There are many books written about this phenomena. I picked 3 great ones you should buy if you want to learn more about it!
James van Praagh is one of the most famous mediums in the world. He claims he can talk with people who died and are no in the after life. 'Ghosts Among Us' is a New York Times bestseller.
“I love this book! His stories and experiences told through his thought provoking and inspiring words, makes a world which seems hard to understand tangible. Thank you James for showing me a whole new world.” -Jennifer Love Hewitt (Source: review on Amazon.com)
Another great book I highly recommend, hardcover. Really amazing stories that happened for real! You'll be blown away after you read it. I know I was. Nothing stays the same...
This book is on my favorite true ghost stories list. It is about people like you and me who have encountered a ghost. They are not crazy, some people didn't believe in ghosts before they saw one for real! A must read, no matter if you believe it or not. But I doubt it you won't believe in ghosts anymore after you finished reading 'The Ghost Next Door' . It shows you that seeing a ghost can happen to anyone! Don't be scared!
My own spooky exerience - Was it Catharina le Chasseur?
While I took photos at De Gevangenpoort something strange happened. I was together with the tour guide when all of the sudden I felt waterdrops on my hair and there were a few on my shirt as well. But it wasn't raining and the tourguide that was standing next to me when it happened didn't see anything falling out of the sky. There was no water on the ground and the sky was blue, no rainclouds! The tourguide saw the waterdrops on my shirt and asked if it had been raining when I was on my way to De Gevangenpoort. I said 'No, this just happened, here, where we stand'. We looked each other in the eyes and he whispered that it might be Catharina doing this. 'No kidding', I said... He said 'No, not at all, lots of strange things happen here and the presence of Catherinas spirit is one of them'. I felt goosebumps all over and felt very cold, but it wasn't cold outside, it was a warm sunny day in the middle of the summer!
Call it coincidence but when I returned home my shower was dripping and all faucets in the house as well. There was nothing wrong with them. It was not a leaking issue. It was like someone opened them. Nobody knew what I was doing that day, I only tell people about my writings when I've finished them. I am the only person with a key of my house and my dogs didn't do it either ;-)
I believe ghosts excist, too many people over the world have been witness of strange things. There experiences are now the true scary ghost stories. True because there is no other explanation...
As for a Halloween costume, the legend of Catharina le Chasseur might be an inspiration. A woman with a covered face dressed in a spooky gray dress, a bit misty. Perhaps carying a water pistol to set her spooky mark ;-)
I hope all wandering spirits on Earth will find peace one day. The only scary 'ghosts' I love to meet are the ones you meet on Halloween!
Photo Credits: Anja Toetenel (yes, that's me!)
Your Halloween ghost costumes?
If you want to do it in the spirit of Catharina le Chasseur this year but don't have time to make them yourselves here are 3 great choices that come close... Go check them out!
Just beautiful, what more can I say
A ghost reported by CNN!
This is really amazing content!
Did you like my Lens? I love to hear your feedback! Or share your true scary ghost stories with the world. You can stay anonymous if you like ;-) Thank you and have a lovely day!